Some members of my REU group and I went to the Kanopolis State Park this weekend, and there I found a plant that had these little nodule things from which various insects were taking food. As I am not a botanist, I’m not sure what the purpose of these are. My best guess is that this is an “ant-plant”, or myrmecophyte, a plant that has mutualistic adaptations that benefit ants, often in exchange for defense provided by the ants. But if this is the case, then the ants seem to be slacking a bit! The photos below show what I mean:
But, as indicated earlier, these ants were not alone:
A beetle from the Mordellidae family, also known as tumbling flour beetles.
Another beetle, this one from the Curculionidae family, also known as weevils!
Yet another beetle (and weevil, I believe).
I hypothesize that there were so many beetles on this plant because they were intent on acquiring some beetle juice.